Decoding Design

Coca-Cola designs a collaborative "Beatbox" for London 2012

Coca-Cola designs a collaborative "Beatbox" for London 2012

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Coca-Cola and design team Pernilla & Asif have come up with an interactive, collaborative music-making structure to bring visitors from all over the world together through music and movement.

As London gears up for the Olympics, many new structures are popping up around town. One particularly interesting installation that will soon emerge will let the thousands of visitors that descend upon the city make music together.

The Coca-Cola Beatbox, as it is named, designed by Pernilla & Asif, is part of Coke's “Move to the Beat” campaign for the Olympics. The cool-looking installation is covered in 230 five-meter-long bolsters made of a plaster polymer called EFTE, each acting like a speaker that responds to touch with sound.

The cushions are spread throughout the whole facade of the pavilion to make a building-sized instrument, the designers told Co.Design.

Pernilla Ohrstedt and Asif Khan received a brief from Coca-Cola that said to “create a design which could visually convey the energy of sport, music and youth,” Ohrstedt said.IT was open-ended in all the right ways, and they incorporated the "Anywhere in the World" campaign song created by British music royalty Mark Ronson.

“Our idea for the pavilion was to take Mark’s track and turn it into a 200-meter visitor journey spiraling up to a rooftop view of the Olympic Park,” they said. Ronson's track (you can listen here) was made after the musician traveled the world to record the different sounds made by athletes with sports in the Summer Olympics. As you can see (and hear) in the video, Ronson's recordings of gymnasts hitting a vault, a track athlete running, an archer pulling back the string on his bow, fit perfectly with the idea that Pernilla and Asif were going for.

The Beatbox is currently being assembled, but this week in London's Covent Garden there will be a pop-up Sound Lab at the St. Martin's Lane Hotel that will show a sample cushion until May 6. And for those of us who won't be able to head to London this summer, Coca-Cola has made an app for that.

What happens to the Beatbox when the games are over? As a result of Coca-Cola’s 0% landfill policy, all the materials will be reused or recycled when competition ends.

Mark Ronson Video:

[Co.Design]
Images: Pernilla & Asif

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Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure